Erez crossing (archives)
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Hamas health minister: Israel blackmailing patients

Dr. Bassem Naim meets with Scottish delegation in Gaza, accuses Israel of using Palestinian patients seeking medical treatment to get information on Palestinian groups' operatives

Israel is blackmailing Palestinian patients seeking treatments in its hospitals, Hamas Health Minister Dr. Bassem Naim said Sunday.


Naim met with a Scottish delegation in Gaza, as part of the Palestinians' international campaign to have the Israeli blockade on the Strip lifted.


The Palestinian minister accused Israel of taking advantage of the patients arriving at the various checkpoints in order to get information on the various Palestinian groups and their operatives.


In several cases, he said, patients who refused to cooperate were not allowed to cross over for treatment in Israel. Patients arriving at the crossings are mistreated, he added, often made to wait for hours in the sun before they are subjected to a humiliating physical search. Israel, he stressed is in breach of national conventions on the matter.


Some 324 Palestinian patients have died because they were denied access to medical treatment in Israel, he told the Scotts.


Naim also accused the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank city of Ramallah of collaborating with Israel and of exacerbating the siege.


Palestinians seeking medical treatment in Israel must apply to the District Coordination Office (DCO) for the proper permit. Various human rights groups often file the requests on their behalf and many of them are questioned by the Shin Bet, as well.


Naim asked the Scottish delegation to push for international legal proceedings against Israeli figures, for committing war crimes against the Palestinian population during Operation Cast Lead in January.


Naim showed the delegations the devastation caused to the Strip's infrastructure as a result of the Israeli offensive in Gaza. The Scottish mission brought with it medical supplies and drug contributions to aid the recovering Gaza.


In mid October 2008, Ynet brought the story of Mahmoud abu-Amro, a 58-year-old cancer patient from Gaza who was granted a posthumous entry permit to Israel.


Abu-Amro's request for an entry permit, filed by Physicians for Human Rights, was denied after his brother was red-flagged as a Hamas sympathizer, by the Israeli security forces. The family claimed that the defense establishment's red tape was a contributing factor to his death.


The defense establishment was unavailable for comment.


פרסום ראשון: 04.26.09, 15:39
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